Your midwife or health visitor will almost certainly recommend that you do pelvic-floor exercises after you’ve had your baby, but it’s pretty hard to exercise muscles you can’t see.
A recent study has shown that one in three women aren’t doing their pelvic-floor exercises correctly, and that’s where the Elvie comes in.
It’s a small, egg-shaped, blue-tooth enabled device that you place inside you. Motion-detecting sensors link to an app, which lets you know if you’re doing the exercises correctly and tracks your progress. It even has speed challenges, if you’re feeling competitive, and is discreet enough to be worn any time.
Tested by Heidi Scrimgeour, mum of three. She says:
Having given birth three times in a decade without pain relief - one baby weighing almost ten pounds - I’m all too aware that my pelvic floor is not what it once was.
Consequently I’ve been considering trying a pelvic floor trainer for a while but must admit that I’d wondered whether the £150 price tag could be justified. Couldn’t I do the same exercises myself without having to shell out that much on a gadget?
Turns out the answer is a resounding no. If you’ve contemplated investing in one of these, I can assure you it’s money very well spent.
It’s a discreet, egg-shaped device wrapped in medical-grade silicon which is inserted into the vagina.
Now I’ve got to confess that I agreed to testing a pelvic floor trainer without really grasping just what I was saying yes to at the time. When the thing arrived and I got to grips with what was required of me, I don’t mind admitting that I was pretty apprehensive.
Undertaking to commit to daily pelvic floor workouts is one thing; getting this ‘up close and personal’ with a bluetooth gadget just felt a bit, well, weird at first.
But I needn’t have worried. From downloading the app - which is really simple and intuitive to follow - to getting to grips with how Elvie works, the whole experience is easy, comfortable and accessible.
Once Elvie is in place you switch on Bluetooth on your phone, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles to activate the device, and then follow the instructions on the app on your screen to lift and tone your pelvic floor in five-minute workouts.
A gemstone icon appears on screen to represent it and as you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles, the icon moves up and down on the screen accordingly.
You’re prompted to use your pelvic floor muscles to move the icon through a series of six different workouts, strengthening the muscles and tracking your progress from day to day. You can even set targets and progress through different levels, and it can detect if you’re exercising incorrectly.
I used Elvie once a day for a week and was surprised at how quickly my scores improved. But what really surprised me was how hard you have to work to exercise your pelvic floor adequately.
It was a shock to see how my poor my initial scores were, which indicated that I’ve probably been doing kegels wrong for all these years.
It takes considerably more exertion than I expected to move the gemstone towards the targets on screen, but you can see an improvement from one day to the next. I think that alone - the discovery of just how hard you have to squeeze to give your pelvic floor a rigorous workout - makes Elvie a worthwhile investment.
I’ve seen a physical improvement, too. Let’s just say there’s definitely less urgency when I need to pop to the loo after drinking too many cups of tea.
I even submitted myself to the ultimate pelvic floor test - a bounce on my daughter’s trampoline. I tend to avoid this at all costs but definitely feel able to jump around freely since trying out Elvie.
It’s laughable but there’s something vaguely addictive about using Elvie, too - I did actually have to restrain myself from popping off to the bathroom now and again to see if I could beat my previous score. Anything that gets me that enthused about doing pelvic floor exercises - not to mention doing them correctly - is pretty impressive to me.
The packaging is also perfect - stylish but discreet enough that you can pass it off as a perfume if, say, quizzed by a nosy nine-year-old.
If you know your pelvic floor muscles need some work or even if you simply suspect you need to pay them some TLC, I have no hesitation in recommending Elvie.
It’s become as much a part of my daily routine as brushing my teeth, with decidedly more interesting results.